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The Virtues of Jazz

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Any jazz aficionado knows the musical virtues of jazz, whether they are a musician, a jazz writer, or simply a committed jazz listener. In classical Western thought (that is, in the musings of cats like as Aristotle and Plato), a virtue is a kind of excellence in performance that flows from a settled habit. One who plays the flute as it ought to be played--the proper tone, pitch, and timing--displays a virtue or sharp skill in that musical instrument. One may be virtuous with respect to any endeavor worth doing, since anything worth doing is worth doing well. One who ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Offering: Live At Temple University

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Discovering unheard John Coltrane material is the Holy Grail for serious music devotees, and the imminent release (Sept.23,2014) of a 1966 live date in the form of Offering: Live at Temple University on the Impulse! label (in conjunction with Resonance Records and Universal Music) to join The Olatunji Concert and One Down, One Up Live at the Half Note in the Coltrane archive is good news, indeed, for those wishing to explore the iconic saxophonist's later years. Adding significantly to the first-class feel of this production is the inclusion of a 23-page liner booklet written by the always perceptive Ashley ...

JAZZ POETRY

The Fire in Coltrane’s Lungs

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When the horn sounds the jazz begins Unity rediscovered A crisscross divergence of souls Coltrane steals the birthright of his heritage makes it into music The horn blasts loud and not so pure-- Life lives between the notes not at the end of the song Painfully hidden tones magically appear dragged out one by one by one breathless gasps of tonal agony Coltrane plays tears of subjugation between notes of joyous rhapsody His horn speaks a thousand languages-- This axe falls in the wilderness--always heard Coltrane's voice never silenced

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

John Coltrane: Live at Birdland

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Historically important recordings by artists that are still celebrated today in most cases are those that have transcended the times they were made in. In those cases are seen more as milestones that mark their progress and advancement as artists. Such is the case with saxophonist John Coltrane where each record in his cannon indicates his progress, insatiable curiosity, zealous dedication and appetite for music. Consequently, this semi live recording Live at Birdland is another stop for him and his monumental Quartet in their progress towards new heights. Recorded at the end of 1963 it is placed between ...

REASSESSING

John Coltrane: Afro Blue Impressions

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John ColtraneAfro Blue ImpressionsOJC1963/2013 When considering the panoply of music living beneath the banner of Concord Music Group, there should be no problem understanding the company's reissue policy, which has been curious. Any wrinkles in such logic smooth out when anniversaries are celebrated. Concord recently acknowledged what is the first of several remastered groups of recordings celebrating Riverside Records 60th anniversary with the copious release of remastered albums of Julian Cannonball Adderley's 1959 Things Are Getting Better, guitarist Wes Montgomery's So Much Guitar, trumpeter Chet Baker's Chet Baker Plays The Best ...

BOOK EXCERPTS

Beyond A Love Supreme

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The following is an excerpt from “Composition/Improvisation" chapter of Beyond A Love Supreme by Tony Whyton (Oxford Univ. Press, 2013). Composition/Improvisation A good example of the way in which binaries shift according to context can be seen when A Love Supreme is described either as a composition or an improvisation. Conventionally, jazz is foregrounded as a live improvised art that is the product of spontaneous creation and inspired performers. When great jazz compositions are created, they provide a wealth of material for musicians to play on, and are most often celebrated through the “liveness" of ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Beyond A Love Supreme: John Coltrane And The Legacy Of An Album

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Beyond A Love Supreme:John Coltrane And The Legacy of An Album Tony Whyton Pages: 176 ISBN: 978-0-19-973323-1 Oxford University Press 2013 Few jazz icons have cast such a long shadow as saxophonist John Coltrane. Since his death at the age of 40 in 1967, his sound has influenced legions of saxophonists and his legend has only grown. And arguably, with the exception of trumpeter Miles Davis, no other musician's sound has been so imitated or absorbed, whether consciously or not. Davis, like Coltrane has also been reified, but ...

WHERE LEGENDS LIVED

Getting Closer to the Dream

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[Editor's Note: All About Jazz, Hidden City Philadelphia, and the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia have collaborated to present a series of articles on the local jazz scene that John Coltrane inhabited, developed in, and ultimately transcended between 1943 and 1958, when he called the city home.] In some ways, John Coltrane's house is like any other in Strawberry Mansion. The three-story, Dutch-gabled row home where he lived from 1952 to 1958 was seen as desirable by North Philadelphia's ascendent black middle class, literally across the street from verdant Fairmount Park and tied in closely to ...

WHERE LEGENDS LIVED

John Coltrane: There Was No End To The Music

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[Editor's Note: All About Jazz, Hidden City Philadelphia, and the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia have collaborated to present a series of articles on the local jazz scene that John Coltrane inhabited, developed in, and ultimately transcended between 1943 and 1958, when he called the city home.]When 18 year old John Coltrane moved to Philadelphia, in 1943 the nation's third largest city, he entered a fundamentally different world from his hometown of High Point, N.C. Like many African-Americans who migrated to major cities of the North, Coltrane joined older family members and friends already settled there. They lived ...

JAZZ POETRY

The Business of 'Trane

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Carlos Santana turned me on to himin an article in Guitar Player magazineI read at the Hingham library,at 14: spiritual centerof his Baja brain,and mine now,for 35 years,in Boston, in the rainafter a storm...the storm--it lasted years,years when I couldn't listen to the fellow,so powerful his song,so powerful the memories of lossand pain, in those early yearsI first discovered himin the basement of the Hingham library:they had a ...

NEW YORK BEAT

John Coltrane"s Music Gets New Life at Lincoln Center

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In jazz history, the often ignored contributions of the great arranger/orchestrators can never be overestimated. It was Jelly Roll Morton's orchestral writing that enabled “Black Bottom Stomp" to soar. In trumpeter Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960), it was Gil Evans' pen that created the magic. At Town Hall, it was Hall Overton's arrangements that brought the audience into the soul of pianist Thelonious Monk. As the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra once again took up the challenge of John Coltrane's oeuvre on Friday night, October 26, 2012, it was the musicians' arranging skills that provided ...

WHERE LEGENDS LIVED

John Coltrane: Always A Philadelphian

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[Editor's Note: All About Jazz, Hidden City Philadelphia, and the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia have collaborated to present a series of articles on the local jazz scene that John Coltrane inhabited, developed in, and ultimately transcended between 1943 and 1958, when he called the city home.]One of Philadelphia's most interesting properties from a cultural standpoint--the former home of legendary saxophonist and composer John Coltrane--is also one of its most endangered. This year, the house located at 1511 North 33rd Street in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood across from Fairmount Park was named first on the Preservation Alliance of ...

REASSESSING

John Coltrane: Kulu Sé Mama

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John Coltrane Kulu Sé Mama Impulse!1967 It is rare to find Kulu Sé Mama on somebody's desert-island list of recordings by saxophonist John Coltrane. Why, is a mystery. Despite the brooding intensity of the cover photo, the performances are accessible and delightful, and, as an artifact, although it was recorded over three sessions in summer and fall 1965 in New Jersey and Los Angeles, with two lineups, the album hangs together beautifully. Released in January 1967, six months before Coltrane's passing, it was one of the last LPs to be assembled ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

John Coltrane Quintet with Eric Dolphy: Complete 1961 Copenhagen Concert

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John Coltrane Quintet with Eric DolphyComplete 1961 Copenhagen ConcertGambit Records2009 Without a doubt, saxophonist John Coltrane's band after he left trumpeter Miles Davis in 1960 is one of the defining groups of jazz, and for the year or so during which multi- instrumentalist Eric Dolphy joined Coltrane on reeds, the band became a phrenic and frenetic powerhouse that shook jazz to its core. Between Dolphy's piercingly distinct sound and Coltrane's newly developed interest in Eastern modalities, as well as the driving force of one of the all-time great rhythm sections--pianist McCoy ...



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